Getting to know our new Lounge Chef:
As the young new chef for Little Mushroom Dining Lounge, we wanted to know a little bit more about her.
What got you interested in cooking?
When I was about 2 years old I got an Easy Bake oven for Christmas. I knew pretty much then that I loved making people happy with food. I was a bossy little sister and I would boss my older sister around. As the years went by, I still had a massive passion for cooking. I would make cupcakes and cookies, anything sweet. I would help with Christmas dinner and Thanksgiving. I finally got my first job in a kitchen. I was a dishwasher and I was also in charge of plating desserts. But then one day I looked over and I saw one of the chefs flambeing something. I immediately knew I had to get on the line and learn how to cook. The next thing you know, I am in culinary school on my way to becoming a chef.
Who or what influences your cooking?
When I first started to cook I was influenced by many chefs. I admire people like Julia Child and Anthony Bourdain. But I will always be so inspired by Grant Achatz. His food is art and his story is incredible. Knowing his story makes me want to grow and be as strong and talented as him. My dad is also someone who has always pushed me when it came to cooking. Since it is the one thing that I have always done and plan to do. He pushes me to achieve excellence. Even when I’m just cooking dinner for the family. Over the years I have also come across some very talented chefs that I have gotten to work under and beside. I have learned so much from some of these amazing chefs.
Imagine you get to cook one dish for Gordon Ramsay. What are you making and why?
Gordon Ramsay honestly has scared me from day one from watching hell’s kitchen as a kid. So it would have to be the best meal I could possibly make. Over the years I can say I think I have made really good eggs benedict. It’s a very hard dish to master but I think I’m pretty close to perfecting it. So I would make a smoked salmon eggs benedict with some of my homemade country loaf on the bottom. And of course a super thick hollandaise on top.
Is there one cuisine that you would like to dive more into?
I would love to dive into asian cuisines, more specifically Japanese cuisine. I have always found a love for asian cuisine with the bold powerful ingredients. The umami flavors are brilliant and absolutely delicious. I admire how precise the dishes can be and how they value tradition. I have never had an opportunity to cook Japanese food at a restaurant but it’s definitely one of my favourite cuisines to cook at home in my spare time.
What do you like to do outside the kitchen?
I like spending my spare time with my loved ones. I like to spend my time outdoors as well. I grew up camping, hiking and kayaking. One thing that I really love to do is travel. Explore new places, new foods and cultures. Oh and cooking, how could I forget cooking?
What foods are you craving right now?
I am always craving sushi. It is one of my favourite things to cook, let alone eat. I am also forever craving chocolate. I always have a stash of chocolate everywhere I go.
Lastly, what are three ingredients that you can’t live without?
Any typical chef would say “I could never live without onions and butter and garlic”. But in my head those are necessary to any savory dish. Those are staples in any kitchen. But in my kitchen, I don’t think I could live without some of my favourite ingredients: flour(for baking bread) as well as parsley and bay leaves. I flavour a lot, if not all of my dishes with those spices.
Article & photos by Donovan Bestari.